August 14, 2007 5:13 PM   Subscribe

"The ile is full of wild fowls, and when the fowls has their birds ripe, men out of the parish of Ness in Lewis sail and tarry there seven or eight days and to fetch with them home their boatfull of dry wild fowls with wild fowl feathers" - Donald Monro, Archdeacon of the Isles, 1549. The men sail again, as they have done since the 15th Century, this month.
posted by brautigan (6 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
For those interested in furteher reading, there is an excellent book Sula available by wildlife photographer John Beatty, the first non-Nessman to travel on the hunt. In it he documents the hardships and bravery involved in the week long gathering but also the respect shown to both tradition and the birds they kill, clean and cure on this barren rock.
posted by brautigan at 5:19 PM on August 14, 2007

posted by brautigan at 5:35 PM on August 14, 2007

nobody here but us chickens.
posted by From Bklyn at 6:06 PM on August 14, 2007

So strange that they still do this but I guess it is part of their diet.
Now there is one more thing I shall always wonder about the taste of.
posted by Iron Rat at 11:07 PM on August 14, 2007

"It's absolutely revolting and greasy," said one Glaswegian last week. "The smell is disgusting and the taste somewhere between rotten leather and fishy beef," added another.
posted by maryh at 3:20 AM on August 15, 2007

It's regarded as a delicacy on Lewis, although many people do find it disgusting! But when the boat comes in, day or night, there will be a long, long queue at the harbour to get a carcass or two. Many birds are also packed and sent abroad to ex-pats. Sula provided a ready source of food on an island which had little natural food supplies especially in winter but nowadays the demand remains. My Grandmother and Aunt love boiled guga with fried potatoes.
posted by brautigan at 3:45 AM on August 15, 2007

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